Shop until you drop

Photo by Evan Bourtis
Photo by Evan Bourtis

By Evan Bourtis, Staff Writer

Local vendors showcased gifts, crafts and homemade products at St. John Fisher’s annual Holiday Bazaar on Nov. 30 at Campus Mainstage.

Eight local businesses were in attendance and several had connections to Fisher. Some of the items sold at the bazaar included Christmas-themed crafts, alpaca wool products, soaps and handbags.

Sophomore Brittney Topash shopped at the event and bought a Christmas ornament for her mother and organic hand lotion for her sister.

“I love these events,” she said. “It’s really helpful to get all local stuff from Rochester all in one place for Christmas shopping.”

One of the vendors at the event was Annie Lane, who sold homemade lotions, soaps and care products through her business Purple Maze. Lane explained that she founded Purple Maze to raise money for education and prevention programs to stop sexual assault.

“Purple Maze is a social enterprise to raise awareness and funds for domestic violence and sexual assault prevention education,” said Lane. “And I do that from some homemade organic and health and wellness products.”

Some of Lane’s products include lotion made from beeswax and sunflower oil, hand sanitizer made from aloe and lip balm made from coconut oil.

Lane, who had to flee her home because of sexual assault, has spent 20 years educating people in schools about sexual assault prevention. The first business that she started to fund education programs and raise awareness was the Daily Scoop, a gourmet ice cream station with unique flavors. Since then, Lane has been invited on the show Good Day Rochester and has blogged about sexual assault issues.

Another vendor, Michael Decker, dropped out of Fisher to start his business Soap Estella. Decker explained that his business sells unique soap varieties, such as Finger Lakes scented soap, tea tree and drunken sailor.  

Decker currently has a kiosk at Eastview Mall where he sells his soaps.

“I actually dropped out of Fisher to go into the business and we’ve been doing it for about three years,” said Decker. “And it’s been picking up every year.”

Kristin Anderson is a Fisher employee and was in attendance to sell Alpaca wool products. Anderson explained that all of the proceeds go to an educational facility in Peru called AbrePuertas.

“We’re on the board of a non-profit organization in Penn-Yan and the nonprofit raises money to support an educational facility in Peru,” said Anderson.

Anderson sold many colorful wool products, including hats, gloves, scarves and socks. All of the items sold at Anderson’s table were made in Peru.

Other local businesses at the event were Mary Kay Cosmetics, PS Enjoy Your Life, Scentsy and LulaRoe.

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